Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Revelation from Revelations

Revelation 12:17: The dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

So easily we forget who our true enemy is – the devil, Lucifer, the one who could not reign in heaven and was kicked out for bad behavior. While we can’t see him he is there. There are so many scriptures that back this up. 

It is easier to walk with God and fight the enemy than to walk without God and live without peace. Life spirals down with no hope. But with Jesus we have hope. Here we see the enemy in hot pursuit after the woman – same as in the garden. God made a way for her to escape. He protected her. Even when we can’t see it, God protects us. Even when we disobey, walk away, God protects. We need never forget what God has done for us. This is our testimony. Every victory – every time – we are overcomers. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Are you Listening? (Not Always!)

I'm commenting on a post I read from Bible Gateway today. I will repost the article at the bottom.

This post spoke to me ... a little. At one time in my life I would have totally agreed this is the best way to hear God speak. But, now it doesn't seem this easy.  I'm not sure why. Maybe there is too much noise in my head. My life is pretty calm, but the noise in my head .... maybe not so much.  Below is the article. Tell me what you think.  Is this how you hear God speak?


Are You Listening?

1 Samuel 3:1-21
When was the last time you heard from God? Think about it. Has God's still, small voice been drowned out by the hum of too much noise from work, family, church and friends?

The adolescent boy Samuel was lying in the temple. It was still night because "the lamp of God had not yet gone out" (the lamp would not have been allowed to go out before morning). Samuel was probably lonely, having been separated from his family and dedicated by his mother Hannah to work for the old, blind priest Eli in the temple. It seems to have been a discouraging time to work there: "The word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions." But as Samuel drowsed on his pallet, the sound of his name cut through the flickering dimness.


Naturally, Samuel thought Eli had called. "Here I am," replied the boy. Again, "Samuel!" Again, "Here I am." Samuel listened keenly, but the summons didn't come from Eli. God himself called Samuel that evening, and Eli taught the boy the right response: "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."

What made Samuel so ready to hear God's voice? For one thing, he was a faithful and obedient servant. He was ready to respond to his master, and his willingness made him ready to respond to God as well. He was being faithful in the small things of his everyday life and was therefore entrusted with a great thing, to be a prophet of God and to restore the priesthood's honor.

Samuel was also in the right place to listen. Are you? His posture invited God to speak to him: faithful, obedient, humble, waiting, receptive. His willingness to respond became instrumental in restoring holiness to the land: "[God] revealed himself to Samuel through his word. And Samuel's word came to all Israel."

If you want to hear God speak, do what you can to be ready. Be prepared when you're in a place of outward silence and sanctuary: as you lay awake in the early hours of the morning, while you wait in your car for your children to get out of school, when you walk the dog in the evening. Seek an inner silence and sanctuary also: Let go of mental noise and emotional confusion. Take deep breaths in and out until your heart and respiration rate slow. Humbly and receptively invite God to speak to you, and wait with faithful and obedient readiness. When God calls your name, respond, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."


  1. What are some things that drown out God's voice for you? What makes it difficult for you to be still in God's presence?
  2. Are personal sins blocking you from hearing God's voice? Take time to confess any wrongs you've committed and ask God to cleanse you.
  3. Read Psalm 84 to prepare you to spend time in God's presence.
1 Samuel 3:10
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

Related Readings

Psalms 84:1-1286:1-17Matthew 5:8John 10:1-6

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why I Think Blogs are Good

Tonight I spent way to much time reading blogs that I had never heard of before tonight. A google search for enchiladas took me here. And somehow from there I ended up over here. Not quite sure how that happened, but it has been happening a lot lately. (I guess the search engines are doing better at picking up blogs.)

I'm a little late to the blog world. I knew they existed, have read a few, but really didn't know the volume of information and sharing that was going on until more recent. Tonight, the blog of a very sick (as in ill, not weird) young lady really touched my heart. Not because of her profound wisdom, but her humor. She is finding ways to make others laugh while she is in so much pain.

Gives ya that warm fuzzy feeling!

What has struck me the most about these blogs is the connectivity they give people. Wether it is someone so sick they can't leave the house, or just someone who has been through a similar situation, blogs are helping people connect and share. This is beautiful to me.  But also, what I love, is that people are so real and transparent. I'm growing more fond of the amateur blogger than the professional, studious writer. These people crack me  up, give me hope, help me find great recipes and ideas, and simply make me feel like I've shared coffee with a friend and caught up on their life.

In one way, I realize I don't know these people and there is a false sense of reality going on. I get that. But their stories are real. Their hurt and suffering is real. So, I approach it like I would if I were sitting across the table from them. I take it all in, process it, try to leave encouraging comments.

Another one's life turns out quite like they had planned. No one plans on getting sick and losing their independence or moving back in with their parents! No one expects to lose a parent at the age of 9. No one expects to go get coffee one morning and fall down and break their leg in the process! (Yes, that one was me!) So, we play the hand we are dealt. We adjust and readjust to the new us! Like it or not, we do it. We make it. We persevere. Yes, there are dark days, frustrating days, but we press on because tomorrow is a new day.

Count your blessings because things can certainly change in the blink of an eye. And, when they do, the blog world is certain to have someone going through something similar. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Catch a Break!

At the age of 39, I would have expected the unpredictable to have leveled out a bit in my life. Yet, it seems quit the opposite.  No matter what area of my life I seem to have under control, there are other areas that simply explode in my face. Can you relate?

For instance, it's December, and you all know that means the holidays are among us. This usually means a little financial juggling for our family. Shifting some bills around to make a little wiggle room for presents. (This is where I hear Dave Ramsey ranting in my head: "Christmas comes every 12 months! You know this! Why have you not planned ahead and saved money for this????" Can I get an AMEN!!!)  But this year, no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to catch a break. I normally take adversity in stride, knowing God has a plan and simply waiting it out. This year He is really testing my patience...or my juggling skills, not sure which! lol

Image by Renjith Krishnan.

Recently, my husband had to go to the ER for a burn on his arm. He tried to go to the clinic, a $60 visit, but it was lunch time so they sent him to the ER instead: a $700 visit. Do the math on that one! A week ago, my son hurt his foot while playing.  It appeared to be okay, but now it is hurting him again. This will require an x-ray very soon to determine what is needed.  All of a sudden, my daughter's eyes have decided they need glasses and her teeth refuse to come in straight! Not to mention we are still paying off medical bills from my broken leg a year ago! (Yes, we have some insurance but it never covers everything!)

Normally, we find creative ways to make all our ends meet. We catch a break somewhere and it all comes together. But, right now nothing is turning out that way. I know the Lord says to cast all my cares on him and be anxious for nothing, and that is what I'm trying to do. But, in the honor of full disclosure I have to say... I am anxious. I know I shouldn't be, but I am. Not just because I may not get my Christmas gifts purchased, but because we have some real needs that are going unmet at the moment. Because I'm embarrassed that I can't pay my bills on time or maybe even at all right now. Because I am letting people down - I don't like to let people down! Because I am a Christian and I feel like I'm setting a terrible example! Because I am a responsible adult, contributing to society, holding down a good job (two actually) and it still isn't enough. It is not enough.

So, I sit and I wait. I've done everything I can do in my own strength. I've turned over every leaf I know to turn.  This one is out of my control.

Honestly, when I let go of that CONTROL is usually when God shows up and shows off. So, I sit and wait for him to do just that!  While I may be frustrated and anxious, I know where my hope comes from! I am NOT without HOPE because I serve a mighty God. He hasn't forgotten me. His ways are higher than my ways. So, I will sit and wait to catch my break from Him.

God bless you all! Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I am Addicted

Who knew? I certainly did not. I mean, after all, I didn't think I consumed that much caffeine! Really!

Somewhere around 32 hours was all I lasted without caffeine. That is terrible. Usually, when I give up my coffee and tea, I have a small headache, feel a bit sluggish, but otherwise I'm okay.  But this time, OMG! I was out to lunch for most of the day, in a fog, head was spinning, and not to mention I almost feel asleep driving! It was that bad from one day without coffee and tea.

I recently watched a documentary that was discussing eating healthy. One of the things they mentioned was people being so dependant on caffeine they really did not know how nutrient deficient they were.  (We are getting our energy from caffeine rather than nutrients.) That comment didn't sink in until yesterday! I had no energy and felt terrible.

I thought after a good nights sleep, today would be better. WRONG! It got progressively worse as the morning went on. Sadly, this morning I had to give in to a small cup of coffee. Instantly, my head was better. Such a sad state of affairs that I'm addicted to caffeine.  Next time, I guess I better ween off the caffeine before I decide to go on a caffeine fast! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Activate Your Tools!

That is the message I got loud and clear last night.

God has given us tools, we need to use them!

Many times, I sit and lament about the trials of this life. There is too much month at the end of the money, too many health complications, and the list goes on.

I pray, "God, please get me out of this situation!" And, it seems like nothing really changes. Lack of motivation sets in, and I stop doing what I know to do.

Yesterday, I did two small, seemingly insignificant things:

I tithed a whooping $10, and I prayed for my husband (in person, not behind closed doors).

Then, as I was trying to go to sleep last night, I felt like God was showing me the people in my church were all under  some kind of an attack...everyone!  I began to picture their faces, one by one, and their trials.  I knew my family had certainly been experiencing some spiritual warfare, but had not really looked beyond myself and seen the trials everyone else was up against.

Then, I got this overwhelming sensation to start praying and fasting.

I remembered the tools that God had given me. And, I thought, "You idiot! Why have you not done this sooner?"

Honestly, I hadn't done it sooner because I hadn't felt lead to do it. I hadn't felt moved by God in quite some time to do much of anything spiritually.

Activate your tools! That is what God was showing me.

We have prayer, fasting, tithing, reading the word, gathering with the body of Christ, and more. When we do these things, we guard ourselves agains the attack of the enemy.

It is our protection!

We need to do it and do more of it. By dropping my seeming small $10 in the offering plate, it was half of all the money I had at that moment. I was activating a little faith. Then, by praying with my husband, I was binding up our marriage, standing in the gap with him, letting him know that I believed in him, encouraging him, and simply doing for him what I would want him to do for me if I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Those two small things, opened a flood gate in the spiritual world.

Today, I've begun a fast of fruit and water. (You can fast doesn't have to be food!)  I'm going to try to make it one week.

I am praying for my immediate family as well as my church family.  I want us to rise up and call ourselves blessed and highly favored of the Lord because he is our refuge in times of trouble! I'm tied of the enemy stealing our joy!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Remembering Larry

      Some people move into your life, and then out again, leaving a few memories and hopefully some fun times. But, every once in a lifetime, there is someone who impacts your life in very profound ways. Ways you can't explain. Ways that make no sense. Ways that are above our ways.God works in ways we simply can't comprehend. Our sweet friend Larry Melton passed away at 61 years young. It was his appointed time to meet Jesus, but we sure weren't ready to let him go! God certainly takes the good ones first.

All day today I've had a slide show playing in my head. Memories of a Godly man smiling, laughing, preaching, fasting, praying, delivering food, asking a stranger if they knew Jesus! Memories. Larry was the kind of Christian we all aspire to be. He loved people like most of us know we should but we simply don't have the compassion to do it. He did. So much so that he went to the ends of the earth to find them and tell them of a loving savior named Jesus!

I remember a story he told us about a trip to Africa. The team had walked through the bush for many miles, trying to get to another town or community. The bush was tall grass or stalks...I think of it like corn could not see where you were going. Then, all of a sudden, they came across a man. One man, in the bush. They proceeded to tell him about Jesus. This man had NEVER even heard the name! He immediately accepted Jesus as his Lord! But the amazing thing was this man simply could not believe God had sent these people to person, literally in the middle of no where! Larry told him, "That is how much he loves you!". And they all wept together!

Yep, that was Larry! An ordinary man, doing God's work. There won't be a press release put out about his death we won't read about him on yahoo. The masses will never know his work for the Lord. But we will...this small community that he impacted for the better...the Africans, Romanians, the people of Poland, we will hold him dear. We will never forget how small we are and how big God used Larry Melton in our lives. Why did we deserve this gift from God? We didn't. But like the man in the bush...God loved us that much!

What's next? I ask myself this question. How will I personally carry on God's legacy...the same one Larry carried with him throughout the world? I don't know yet, but I know I will never be the same.
We love you Larry! Your life was never in vain! You made a difference. You gave hope to the hopeless. You set many many captives free! You fed the poor and reached out to the widows and orphans. You did it all in a way that maybe we can mirror in our own small way. You will be missed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just Because it is Awesome!

This song is one of the best! And, she sings it like no one else. If this doesn't move you, well, I don't know what to tell you. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Heaven Is For Real

This book by Todd Burpo is a hot topic right now, so I thought I would weigh in on it. I quickly glanced at it in the bookstore, and my initial thought was, "huh, not interested!" and I moved on, giving it little thought.

Lately I've heard many of my friends discussing on facebook how much they enjoyed the book. So, I thought I should read it. To my surprise, it blessed my socks off. Now, don't get me wrong, I read it with my typical skepticism, looking for a flaw. But, guess what? God blessed me anyway!

I thought the book was fantastic. By the time it was over, I saw it as an awesome testimony that could have been added on to my bible or the book of Revelations. It was a small glimpse into what God has waiting for us.  It was God blessing us, giving us hope that our faith is for real. Giving his believers another reason to hang on and know that he cares for us and he is waiting for us. There are some things we will not know until we get to heaven, but I'm grateful he gives us these little tidbits as we go so that we don't lose our faith.

There is another book written by an older gentleman called Flight to Heaven. It gives more vivid details because it was an adult giving the account. It made the Holy Spirit do summer-saults in my heart. I loved what God did in this man's life. He waited 30 or 40 years before he wrote his book because he wanted to "live out" what he saw in heaven. And he did, then he wrote a book about it. Amazing testimony.

One common thread in these books is the overwhelming love that these people feel when they return from heaven. They have an unexplainable love for people...a longing to make sure they go to heaven...a longing to make sure they know Jesus. That kind of love only comes from one place - God! It is the only thing that can transform a person overnight - or in three minutes.

Love is what makes me believe that these books are true testimonies. People don't change...unless they have had an encounter with God...then they are different forever.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Authority of Jesus' Name

One more quick thing.

I found a nugget last night in the Word of God. It was actually hidden in the commentary. It said when people prayed in the "name of Jesus" they were saying "by the authority of Jesus Christ." This struck a cord with me.

The name of Jesus is so powerful, but when you say "by the AUTHORITY of Jesus" it has a strong, authoritative ring to it! That resonated with me.

I am going to concentrate for the next couple of weeks on saying "by the authority of Jesus" and not "the name of Jesus". One is not better than the other, but it gives me a more concentrated authority to my prayer life! It feels more powerful right now. Like I said, it was nugget for me!

The name of Jesus is super powerful. Just today this blog post came to my inbox. As always, so timely. Hope you too enjoy it!

Keeping it Real

Sometimes, the things that make me think a little deeper can be very strange things! Recently, I downloaded a new cd by Mandisa. The title is "What if we were real". Leading up to the release of this cd, I had been reading several tweets by Mandisa and how this album came about. She became very frustrated with herself, her struggle with weight, etc., and one day she blurted something out on twitter. Something very real to what she was struggleing with that day. I have to admit, I've always thought her tweets were more real than something I would but out for the public to see. (Let me be very clear, she is always tasteful and is never putting out information to get attention. But, she tells the truth about exactly what she is doing that day.) Somedays are up and some are down.

This has had me thinking about being real with people. I always try to be authentic with people, yet I'm not sure I really do a good job of speaking what is on my heart. Sometimes I'm not even sure what is stirring in my heart! lol  I don't always have the words to describe how something affects me. I certainly rarely have the words to describe what God is trying to do in my life. Sometimes, I'm not even spending enough time with God to give any advice on that category. Now that is real!! lol

One day recently, God gave me two situations where people were very real with me. In just a matter of "hello how is it going?" two different people poured their heart out to me about some very tough stuff going on in their life. I was blown away they trusted me enough to share this information. I was reminded that people are real, if we will just listen. And, I was reminded that my heart needs to be open to really hear what they are saying. And, I was challenged to be more real with people. They don't want or need fake Christianity. They need the real deal! I appreciate it when folks are real, so why would they feel any different?

Now, I'm not saying go and tell everyone your problems, but you know who you can trust. You know who has a heart for Jesus. You know a kindred spirit when you see one! So, share! Open up, be honest! You might just be surprised what God will do with it.

The Holy Spirit has Spoken, I have Listened

My heart has been plowed this weekend and I don't even know where to begin.

First, let me say that the Holy Spirit is real - in case you had a doubt! And, sometimes, when you hear him speak, you can't translate it into words. But, your heart knows when it has been spoken to. Your heart is different. Your heart is better. I'm convinced this is why we all get tripped up on explaining God to people because you simply can't put the Holy Spirit into words.

I told you last week I was longing for my Jesus. Today (and it's Monday to boot!), my cup is overflowing. Not my bank account, not my situations, nothing has changed at my house...except my heart.

When the Holy Spirt works in my heart, he allows me to "feel" more and to soak up Jesus. With ease I can soak up his love for me, his grace, his majesty. Somedays I can put on the music, pull out the Word, but I'm just not feeling it. But when the Holy Spirit shows up, it is effortless.

Today as I listened to a song that mentioned him being slain for me, it hit me fresh: Jesus, not any other god that people bow down to, or make up or worship, was slain for me and you. What other god has that resume? I don't know of one who laid his life down for his people like Jesus did. (Historically the bible is true. A man died. Whether you recognize the spiritual element of his death or not, someone was really slain and died a brutal death.)

This weekend, the Holy Spirit spoke. The ground didn't shake. Lightening didn't strike. He simply used someone who was listening to Him, to speak to his people. My longing heart has heard and is filled. My ears are opened. My walls have been knocked down...once again. All of these make it easy for me to feel his presence, hear his word and draw near to him. It is amazing that a few words, uttered by an obedient disciple of Christ, words that in the natural make no sense, can open my heart and plow hard ground like nothing else I could ever dream up on my own. The Holy Spirit has spoken and praise God that he has allowed my heart to hear and be changed.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Time With God

One great thing about being a mature Christian woman is knowing when you are lacking in your relationship with the Lord! (that is a joke - but a true statement - maybe minus the mature part!)

Yes, I know I've not spent the time I need to spend with my Jesus and I'm suffering because of it. How do I know this? Because I'm frustrated and edgy, but most of all, I'm longing. Longing to spend time with a precious friend that fills a huge void in my life.  I'm empty. I'm spinning my wheels with no return.

Nothing in my life gives back like time spent with God. Nothing. Time with family and friends does my heart good, but time with Jesus fills me up. It gives me perspective to deal with everything else. And, I'm missing that. My filter is clogged!

So, the answer (remember, I'm mature so I know the answer! lol) is to find some time to carve out and spend with the Lord. My problem is I don't want just any time. I want that fresh, uninterrupted morning hour. I also want extra time to wallow in His glory, not be whisked away with morning interruptions!   Unless I want to get up really really early, mornings are just crazy at my house. So, there in lies my problem - I'm too picky! The result - I'm not getting the quality time I need, and I'm suffering.

How do you carve out time for Jesus? Are you as picky as me?

Friday, April 22, 2011

As Long As it Takes

Much of my job entails marketing and promotion, so I'm hypersensitive to marketing when it comes to the Lord. I don't even like to write on this blog unless something has moved me so much that I think maybe it is worthy of putting out for the world to read. And, sometimes it is only meaningful to me.

I just heard this song for the first time. Before I listened to the song, I watched a short interview about how this song came about. And, it was exactly where her (Meredith Andrews) heart was at that moment. She didn't want to put music out there just to fill an album, she wanted it to mean something, but she felt empty, like there was nothing left to say. I can relate.

So, please take a moment and listen to this. It's beautiful. What blesses me is that there are people in the music industry who actually care enough to seek God first, and put out something meaningful. Trust me, it matters. I can hear it in their songs. And, I appreciate that they are walking the walk and not just talking the talk. It challenges me to do the same.

Here is the link. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who Are We Listening To

Here are a few verses from Proverbs 14 that spoke to me today. I really could have posted the entire thing, but in an effort to keep this short, I only put a few.

12. There is a way that appears to be right, 
   but in the end it leads to death. 
23. All hard work brings a profit, 
   but mere talk leads only to poverty.
29. Whoever is patient has great understanding,
   but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.

Today I'm pondering my connection to those God puts directly in my life. We, as a nation and generation of the world wide web, value the opinions of many. We seek knowledge from various sources. We read and read and read about various topics, trying to stay current on everything humanly possible. But, today I've stopped to ask the question: Should we only be listening to those God has put in our path? 

God has a message for each of us. When you read his word, it may speak to me differently than it does you based on my life and what is going on. If God wants to reach me with a particular message, maybe he has given me a husband, a pastor, a friend to deliver that message to me. Certainly he can use the internet, the television, but he is such a personal God that I have to believe these people he has placed in my path may be a more direct connection to his message for me. 

Like I mentioned, I'm just pondering this thought today. I'm not saying I 100% have reached a conclusion. I'm wondering if maybe I should listen more closely to what those around me are saying and stop pursuing outside sources. Maybe everything God wants me to know is right in front of me, and I'm missing it. Information is good, but things can get lost in our age of information overload. That is all I'm saying. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shameless Promotion

Headed out for a little road trip and had to stop for some new tunes! I normally don't OD like this...but I couldn't make up my mind. I could just subscribe to XM radio, but it's just not the same to me! I like to own my music and listen to it over and over and over! Happy listening to everyone.

PS. I'm updating this post. After having owned these CDs and listened to them incessantly, I can give you and honest critique: They are well worth the money! JJ Heller's cd is plowing hard ground. She sings all about tough circumstances. And there are a few happy songs, but it's an emotionally tough CD. Santus Real - to me it has an 80s flair on some of the songs - which I love! The content is good. I think it gives you a male perspective of the pressures they feel while trying to "Lead" the family. Chris Tomlin - This one is also great, but for some reason was my least favorite. Had I bought it and only it, I think I would have gelled more with it. But, instead it took me longer to warm up to it. But, it is a great CD!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Tonight I'm reminded that we should all be brave! Not because we are perfect or what we are going to do or say is perfect, but because the only way we get better at something is to take a chance!

If we never took our first step, we would not be walking.  We would look stupid crawling around as adults! Yet, we keep all our talents to ourselves, scared to show them to the world. We might get criticized. We might get laughed at. We might do it all wrong! But, at least we started. We launched! We did something!!  There is always room to improve, but if we never start, then we simply never get any better.  So, get out there and take a chance. Do something brave!

Here is my friend doing something brave. She has been learning guitar for about a year. I didn't even know that she sang, and she even wrote the song. Why? Because it was important to her!! I love that. And, she is an extremely shy young lady, so this is HUGE in my book!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bad News

A friend emailed yesterday with bad news: her brother-in-law, the father to her only niece, has just found out he has cancer.  That is bad news. But, what makes it even worse news is that her sister, the mother to her only niece, just passed away four years prior with cancer.  Pretty tough to swallow, and all I could think was, "this isn't fair."

Immediately after hearing this bad news, I felt compelled to have a little "what for" talk with the Lord.  I am not sure why I do that. I know it's not his fault. We simply live in a broken world full of many diseases.  I tried to think of some encouraging words for my friend. The only thing that came to mind was (paraphrasing) don't borrow tomorrow's troubles because today has enough of it's own.  I didn't tell her that. I just tried to love and hug her through email while holding back my tears.

This morning I ran across this verse in Matthew 13:17, "For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." Jesus was talking about the coming of the Messiah. Many had already given their lives to preach this message but never actually seen him.  They didn't live long enough - and some of them lived a long time! Yet, Jesus' current audience was seeing scripture fulfilled.

Reading this verse today gave me a glimmer of hope for the future. Many are down on their knees praying for a cure for cancer, probably much like our grandparents prayed for a cure for small pocks.  Yet, like these many righteous men who never got to see Jesus, we may never see the cure for cancer in our lifetime. But, we shall continue to pray because our kids or grand kids may be the ones who receive it. Plus, we serve a big God and sometimes people are healed. I was.

Even though it seems like the odds are stacked against you when you hear that terrible "C" word, pray anyway.  Don't let the devil get you down! Stand up and fight! And remember, Jesus did show up.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Matthew Chapter 10 'nuf Said!

As I read this chapter with fresh eyes this morning, I feel excitement, caution, worry, and pride all wrapped up into one. I see a Jesus who was calling his troops to battle. In his eyes, these men were ready for the challenge. They were ripe for the picken!  I can see the excitement in the disciple’s eyes, fresh, ready to take the charge. After all, the ultimate King of Kings was calling them to duty. How proud and honored they must have felt.

Yet, Jesus speaks with authority and caution, trying to make them understand what is before them. He tells them they will be persecuted. He uses the metaphor of sheep and wolves. I don’t know about you, but I would be scared to death to be a little newborn sheep, white as snow, without a blemish, thrown out to pasture with wild wolves all around (or coyotes for that matter). Yet, that is basically what he is telling them here. They are the “sheep among wolves…therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” 10:16

While he is sending them into dangerous territory, he is also equipping them with every tool he has. He gives them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Wow! Now those darn evil spirits have to listen to these 12 as well as Jesus. How empowering it must have felt to know they had that ability. Up until this point, only Jesus could do such things. 

Later he tells them, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” 10:26  All events surrounding Jesus had been somewhat mysterious. People didn’t understand who he was or how he could do the things he did. How exciting to know that all this mystery was now going to be fully understood by the chosen disciples. They were going to know and understand!  As I put myself in their shoes, I’m getting pumped up for the challenge even more, and standing a little taller because Jesus himself is disclosing mysteries to me, a mortal man!

I can see Jesus sensing this pride his disciples are feeling. He continues with love, grace and cautious optimism, warning them not to worry about those who can kill the body because they can’t kill the soul. (Yikes. You mean there is a chance this could end in death?) And then he discloses another mystery: He hadn't come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword. (Balloon now somewhat deflated, eyebrows raised, got the disciples attention on that one!) Jesus probably would not have said it had they not been thinking it. Isn’t that what we all want…peace on earth, no more wars, everyone being of one accord? I’m sure it was no different then. “Sorry guys, it ain’t happening,” is basically what he told them in today’s vernacular. “But don’t worry too much about that,” he continues!

This charge set before them was exciting and yet a bit scary. But these men were willing. They had obviously experienced something supernatural in their short time with Jesus…something that pushed them on toward the goal. Something that made them leave their father, mother, sons and daughters.  Something that lasted even after Jesus' death. Those secrets must have been revealed in order to live out this call of duty. They certainly knew something that made them so brave and fearless to preach the good news. 

Jesus deposits all of that on the inside of each of us when we become his beloved and walk in his word.  He casts out all fear. He gives us perfect love. These disciples were given all of that. They were fully equipped by Jesus himself, and so are we if we take up our sword daily and follow him.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Staying Committed

Last night I was cooking dinner and my kids were cleaning their room. My son comes out and says, "This is hard and I don't like doing it!" Understandable.  I tell him, "We never like doing the hard stuff, but anything worth doing is going to be hard."

Then, it occurred to me that Jesus did the hard stuff for me.  He died on the cross, not me. He was tortured and brutally killed, not me.  I don't even have to go through the rituals that people did in the old testament times. I don't have to kill a sacrifice and bring it to the temple.  I just have to ask for forgiveness and it is given. How easy is that?

While I'm extremely grateful to live in this day and age, it occurred to me that I take my faith for granted because I'm not the one who had to do the hard stuff.  It was done for me.  Yet, I still have a torch to carry to the next generation. If my light goes out, so goes the faith of my children and their children. While I may not have to bring a burnt offering to the Lord, I still have things that I need to do like reading the Word, sharing my faith, sewing into my kids faith.  These are not things I would consider hard. The hard part is simply staying committed and conscious of doing them.

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